From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

South Korea: Lonely lives, lonely deaths

Confucius  (Tang artist Wu Daozi)
It literally doesn’t pay to be frail and lonely in South Korea these days.

Whereas the “Confucian social contract” of families caring for their own used to rule, that “long-cherished traditional” structure is rapidly changing.

It’s gotten to the point that dying paupers can’t even count on a “proper funeral,” a traditional rite believed to be essential for transitioning from this world to the next.

Many “spend their last days in rooms so small they can only fit a narrow bed,” all the while fearing that “their remains will be treated like trash.”

An organization called Nanum & Nanum has stepped in to help alleviate this crisis.  It is dedicated to providing “simple funerals for those who die alone.”  Its leader, Mr. Park, emphasized:  A society that lets its poor and abandoned die alone and leave without a funeral is itself dying at heart.


Copyright November 8, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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